Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: "The Snow Queen" Classic a Month #12.2014

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
2 out of 5 stars

I am obsessed with the movie Frozen. I've watched the movie at least half a dozen times, I have the soundtrack on my phone, I got the Funko Pop figures for Christmas, when anyone says "do you want to...", I finish it with "...build a snowman?" So when I heard that it was based on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale, The Snow Queen, I was super excited to read it for my December classic.

And after reading it...well, let me just save you the trouble. Frozen is very loosely based on this story. An inkling of an idea exists, but that's about it. I was pretty disappointed, to be honest. The story kind of went all over the place and didn't make a lot of sense. The few parts that I actually enjoyed were super short and it moved on to something else.

Now then, let us begin. When we are at the end of the story, we shall know more than we know now; but to begin.

This is a story of magic, as most fairy tales are. We begin with a sprite, or fairy, who creates a mirror that shows evil and ugliness in its reflection. The mirror is broken into thousands of pieces all around the world and wherever it lands, the evil is multiplied. The worst is when a sliver lands in a person's eye or their heart. (Small reference to Frozen.) Then, they are forever frozen against love and goodness.

A little boy and girl (Kay & Gerda) are the best of friends, until Kay gets one of those slivers in his heart. He runs off and meets the Snow Queen, who takes him as her own. Gerda is devastated and decides to go looking for him. The rest of the story tells of her adventures, first with talking flowers who tell long, convoluted tales of their own. "I don't understand that at all," said little Gerda. (and me) Then she meets a prince and princess with the help of a Raven and a robber maiden who first wants to kill her and then decides to help her, a reindeer (Sven?) who takes her to Finland and finally the Queen's castle made of ice. Even though she is just a girl, she gets no help from anyone beyond that.

"I can give her no more power than what she has already. She must not hear of her power from us; that power lies in her heart, because she is a sweet and innocent child!"

Gerda arrives at the castle barefoot and freezing but she says the Lord's Prayer and is saved by a legion of angels. She finds Kay, who is nearly black with cold, and wraps him in a warm hug. "Then little Gerda shed burning tears; and they fell on his bosom, they penetrated to his heart, they thawed the lumps of ice, and consumed the splinters of the looking-glass." The children make the long trip back home, nearly grown-ups now, and the journey is really just a dream to them.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: "The Little Prince" Classic a Month #11.2014

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
3 out of 5 stars

Okay, I'll just say it flat out...I didn't really "get" this book. Maybe I'm reading too much into it or maybe not enough, I don't know. I know there's probably some big lesson I should be getting out of it, but I didn't. It was a sweet, sad little story yes, but I know I missed the big picture. Those of you who have read it, help me out here? And if you haven't read it, go try and let me know what you think! (Spoilers here, of course.)

So, this is the story of a little prince from a far off star planet who arrives on Earth. He befriends a pilot whose plane has gone down in the middle of the desert and as the man is trying to fix it, the prince keeps him occupied with stories of his travels. First, he tells of his own little planet, with its beautifully unique flower, three volcanoes (one extinct), and forty-four sunsets a day. Then he begins to tell of the people and beings he has met on the other planets: a king who rules only over himself, a conceited man who demands admiration, a drunk who drinks because he is ashamed of his drinking. Each person he meets imparts a lesson or bit of wisdom on the boy.

"One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform."

"Then you shall judge yourself. That is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom."

Then there is the businessman who collects the stars in a bank of numbers, the lamplighter, and the geographer who does not explore.

"Little golden objects that set lazy men to idle dreaming."
"Ah! You mean the stars?"

And finally, he arrives on Earth, where he meets a snake who promises to help send him back to his star when he is ready. He meets a garden full of roses, exactly like the flower he left behind. "I thought that I was rich, with a flower that was unique in all the world; and all I had was a common rose. That doesn't make me a very great prince." He tames a fox and learns a valuable lesson about his flower and himself.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." 

And then he meets the pilot. He asks the man to draw him a sheep to take home with him and a box to keep him in. The man listens, sometimes impatiently, to the prince's stories and on the eighth day, they must go in search of water or die. They magically find a well and drink the golden water and there, the prince tells the man that the anniversary of his trip is coming up and it is time for him to return home. The man does not understand at first and then tries to talk the boy out of it, but it is no use. He cannot take his body back to his star with him and so must leave it there. The snake is back to help him on his journey and the prince gives one last gift to the man.

"And at night you will look up at the stars. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens...they will all be your friends."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Will Be Reading This Winter

Oh, this week's The Broke & The Bookish Top10 should be easy-peasy! I already have a stack of books waiting for me on December 1st. :) I am very much in the holiday spirit this year, so I really want to read lots of Christmas/holiday/wintery books. And I am off work 2 glorious weeks Christmas thru New Year's, so I see lots and lots of reading time in my future!

1. My True Love Gave to Me (various awesome authors!) -I am sooooo excited about this one, I've barely been able to stop myself from reading it yet! I think I might read one story a night the twelve days leading up to Christmas. :)

2. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson -this is my classic pick for December, the story that Frozen is based on. Since I am still addicted to all things Frozen, I thought this was perfect.

3. Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne -a cute contemporary romance? Yes, please!

4. The Santa Society by Kristine McCord -"a clandestine world of the Santa Society, a centuries old secret organization that protects the truth behind Christmas." Bonus: it's free on Kindle right now!

5. Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone -another freebie I picked up solely because of the cute kitty on the cover lol. Oh and the cowboys!

6. Let it Snow by John Green & others -3 more great authors! I can't wait!!

7. Confessions of a Secret Santa by Lara Bergen -I don't know why I like this little book so much, but I do! I've read it at least 4 times!

8. The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum -another reread, of my absolute favorite winter book! It's not very well known, but I highly recommend it! "One snowy night while watching a Doris Day marathon on cable it hits Jane: Doris Day always got her man."

9. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery -I've been reading the later books (5-6) recently and they're not bad, but they don't have the magic of the first book, so it's really making me want to go back and read that one. And while it is not a Christmas or winter book, I read it the first time around then, so it's etched in my brain as one now.

10. The Ex-Games by Jennifer Echols -this is a slight cheat, because I just read this one last weekend! It was a cute, quick read and if you like the author, then you'll like this one!

11.Bonus: I took a bunch of Christmas romance anthologies from my mom last year when we were helping her move and I might get to some of those too. Lots of cowboys and heaving bosoms and such lol.

12.Another Bonus: I have several Christmas children's (picture) books that I would love to read and review for My Favorite Children's Books feature. I should definitely get started on that soon!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: "Snowbound: The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #7"

Snowbound: The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #7 by Ann M Martin
3.5 out of 5 stars

You guys, I read this book in August! Three months ago! Oh, the shame...the blogging shame. But hey, let's pretend I meant to hold it this long because we're having record low temps in the 30s this week! Yeah, that's it lol.

This one was on the verge of being boring but then it pulled out the fun and outrageous in the end. It starts out with Kristy being super annoying, writing the Stoneybrook newspaper about the blizzard they had and offering to sell them the Baby-Sitters Club's story as an article. She's all "your story was good but mine is better" and "by the way, do you need a baby-sitter?" And she basically spoils the whole story for us, by listing what happened to everyone during the blizzard. THEN we go back to the beginning of the story.

It's a normal weekend at home for Kristy...homework, daydreaming about her "boyfriend" Bart, helping Karen with her sweater-pants, searching for missing rats, etc...The weather people are calling for a huge snowstorm, but since that's the 4th time they've predicted snow with nothing, Kristy doesn't think much about it. Oh and there's another dance: the Winter Wonderland Dance. And it's pretty close to Christmas. For some reason, we get the intro chapter in this Super Special and they lay out what everyone is doing on Wednesday: Mary Anne and Mallory are doing a marathon baby-sitting job for the Pikes, Jessi has a rehearsal for The Nutcracker, Dawn is picking up Jeff at the airport, and Claudia is baby-sitting for the Perkins girls. So they decide to actually cancel the Wednesday meeting (I don't know how Kristy didn't have a heart attack) and then they gab about the dance and all the awesome guys they're going with. Claudia already has her dibbly outfit picked out too:

I was really looking forward to dressing up. I'd bought this black velvet knicker outfit and was going to wear it with a lot of silver jewelry, including snowflake earrings. 

Okay, let's start going down the list of where everyone is and what happens to them when it finally snows! The snowstorm finally starts up late Wednesday afternoon, conveniently when the BSC meeting was cancelled. Mary Anne and Mallory are doing their huge sitting job because Mr & Mrs Pike are having some weird touristy day in New York. I guess that's the only way they can afford vacations. Mary Anne is staying the night and Mrs Pike says there is enough food for them, but she'll have to go to the grocery as soon as she gets back. (Important point for later.) When it starts snowing, the triplets scare Claire with stories of the Abominable Snowman. As it gets later and the snow gets heavier, the Pike parents call and say they aren't coming back that night, then they realize they are almost out of food, then the phones and power go out, and suddenly everyone is starving. Like, 30 minutes after dinner. They make it thru the night but the next morning they're all still hungry and Mary Anne even calls Logan and whines that she's hungry. So what does any self-respecting 13 year old boy from Kentucky do? Gets on his cross-country skis and brings a backpack full of food over to his girlfriend. Yeah, seriously.

Stacey and her mom are at Washington Mall, getting Stace's hair permed for the big dance. Her mom doesn't like to drive in snow and starts freaking out when they leave the mall to see big snowflakes coming down. They get on the highway and start inching their way slowly home. Until they fishtail and her mom decides to take the backroads home. Then she pulls over when it gets too hard to see. And they get stuck on the side of the road. Pretty scary, especially once Stacey gets hungry and the car dies. To keep their minds off things, Stacey asks her mom how & why she fell in love with her dad. Kind of like that part in The Parent Trap. And then they get rescued by a desperate criminal...just kidding, it's a kindly gentleman with a wife and a baby at home. He takes them to his country home, which is decked out for Christmas. It looked like a house from a fairy tale, lit inside and out, a green wreath with a plaid ribbon hanging on the door, the gold lights on a Christmas tree twinkling through a window. Have I mentioned how ready I am for Christmas this year? I am full of holiday spirit lol. Stacey mentions that this will be her first Christmas as a divorced kid. They fall in love with the Schiavone family and even trade Christmas cards afterwards. Once Stacey gets back home, Claudia rushes over, all worried, because everyone had noticed they were gone and says "Don't ever think we wouldn't miss you." Aw...

Claudia is busy baby-sitting the Perkins girls when it starts snowing and of course, the parents can't get back home and the power goes out. Instead of taking the girls across the street to her home, she decides to just stay at their house. And then Chewy, the big destructive dog, goes missing. Turns out he was in the basement the whole night. Not a lot happens for Claud, so we'll put in this gem from Myriah Perkins:

[We can make] "a whole snow family! A snow mommy and a snow daddy and three snow girls and a snow dog and two snow cats." 
"You are going to be very busy tomorrow," [Claudia] said.
"That's what happens when you're five," Myriah replied.

And on to Jessi...she has her big Nutcracker rehearsal, which of course contains plenty of small children. Quint, her New York boyfriend, is on his way to stay with Jessi for the week and go to the dance with her. The snow starts, parents can't get there (doesn't anybody leave early when they see there might be bad weather?), everyone is stuck there overnight. Quint shows up a few hours later after WALKING there from the train station. Seriously, that's just dumb. Jessi & Quint help corral the younger kids, because apparently all the adults there can't do it. The next morning, they have a romantic breakfast across the street.

Dawn's mom is the only adult in the whole book who actually leaves early, to pick up Jeff from the airport. Doesn't matter though, because his flight is diverted to Washington and Dawn & her mom get stuck at the airport for the night. Luckily, Dawn has a baby in a nearby family to keep her occupied. Jeff arrives the next morning, understandably upset over the whole ordeal, but by the time they get home, it was a grand adventure.

And finally...Kristy. The only person who was actually in her own home (besides Mallory I suppose). She invites Bart over to watch some movies and have dinner with her entire family (not too bright for Miz Prez) and he has to stay the night once it starts snowing. Kristy freaks because ZOMG A BOY!!! And sets her alarm for 5:30 the next morning so she can get up and make herself pretty. I'm not sure why, because he's never seen her pretty before. Ooh...zing! She even shaves her legs, for the first time, with an electric razor. Ouch. All her brothers make fun of her, of course, but Bart says she's beautiful. After the storm, everyone catches up on everyone else's story and back to the present...Kristy gets a call from the newspaper that they do want to publish her article. I hope it's not as long as this blog post! (Sorry!) And the girls all go to the Winter Dance together, with their various boy toys. The End.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: "Isla & The Happily Ever After"

Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
4 out of 5 stars

I don't know why it has taken me so long to review this book, maybe because I can't say much other than "I loved it". I am in love with Stephanie Perkins' world she has created around these three girls...Anna, Lola, and Isla. It's not just the plot but the scene she sets in each city, each book. So I decided not to bother with a normal review and just give you my favorite lines. Obviously, this will have all kinds of spoilers but I figure you've either read this already or never heard of it. So if you've already read it, enjoy and share your favorite parts below! And if you haven't read it, stop here, go read my review of Anna & The French Kiss, and get thee to a bookstore! :)

...it opens with the delicious crack of a hard spine being tested for the first time.<--This is exactly *exactly* how I felt opening this book.

Whenever he enters a room, an unmistakable mass of chaotic energy enters with him. It rattles the air between us. It buzzes and hums. And every time we surrender--every time our eyes meet in a flash of nerve--a shock wave jolts throughout my entire system. I feel frayed. Excited. Unraveled.

But when someone who knows him doesn't even want to try to understand him? No, I can't forgive that.

"You read a lot."
"Safer than going on a real adventure."

"I like that you're tiny. I like that I could carry you around in my pocket."

"Mon petit chou." My little cabbage.

"I feel like this...awkward giant around you. You're like this perfect porcelain doll. Delicate and sweet and pretty."

I'm covered in garden roses, spinning compasses, falling leaves, desert islands, Joshua trees, and intricate geometric patterns. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.

"I love you. I have *always* loved you."
"There's no story. I saw you one day, and I just knew."

"I like the temple's reflecting pool. I kind of just wanted to sit beside it and make out with you."

Josh is a beautiful, messy, passionate work of art, and I'm...a blank canvas.

"...for once in your life, Isla, take a risk. Take a fucking risk. If you keep playing it safe, you'll never know who you are. I know who you are, and I love who you are."

How do people even make friends? How does that happen? (awesome poster by Kitkat Lastimosa)

Silver-white flakes catch in our tangle of red hair.

"Something better is about to happen."
Anna and St Clair are standing on top of Point Zero.
Anna's entire body lights with shock and joy and love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: "The Morganville Vampires" Series Books 11-12

You know how in my last review, I said I refused to buy these in hardbound? Yeah, that didn't last lol. I did check out the 12th one from the library though...but that doesn't really help me much, because I'm going to want it eventually. I read these two books about a month ago and I really want to get the last 3 so I can finish the series. It has been really great so far and I would highly recommend it. Check out my review of the first 8 here! Also, there is a new web series for Morganville! Watch the first episode here. And of course, this post has spoilers up thru the first 10 books.

Last Breath: Morganville Vampires #11 by Rachel Caine
4 out of 5 stars

These books continue the multiple view points, which can be a little irritating at times, but good too. We don't just get Claire and Shane this time though, but also Amelie, Eve, & Michael. The story picks up with Eve & Michael planning their wedding, against the wishes of...everybody. Literally. They're doing the best they can, but of course things go bad. And then they go really bad.

Claire keeps seeing a strange new person around town that no one else sees and when she has a run-in with him, it gets ugly. There's a new Big Bad in town and even Amelie is scared. I can't really say much more about this book without spoiling it. Except that it rains, a lot, in the desert.

I can't believe she killed Claire. But I can't believe it even more that she just brought her back, with no trouble or vampirism or anything. I didn't even really take it in that she was dead, until that chapter with Shane. Oh man, my heart broke with him when he's sitting there on Claire's bedroom floor, ready to end it all. And Myrnin. Poor, sweet, crazy Myrnin loved her. And nearly sacrificed himself for her.

*end spoilers*

Black Dawn: Morganville Vampires #12 by Rachel Caine
4 out of 5 stars

The fight against the draug is going strong and hard in this one. This book almost felt like an ending. And in a lot of ways, it was. Most of the vampires are skipping town as fast as they can and leaving the humans to fend for themselves. The Founder is nearly dead from her injuries at the end of the last book and that means Oliver is in charge. Scary thought.

There is a lot of them running around in the rain and avoiding big puddles in this one. There are casualties and declarations of love and another heartbreaking moment with Shane. Why is it always that sarcastic, hard-headed Shane that has the most gut-wrenching moments? *spoiler: highlight* When he freaks out because he doesn't know their daughter's name? I cried. It was awful.*/end spoiler*

I want these kids to have some happiness, eventually. Can we just have a few chapters in the next book where everything is okay and kind of normal? Maybe Claire can go to class again? They can have chili dogs and play some video games. That would be nice, right? Or maybe even make it out of Morganville? I really need to get the next book.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Want to Re-Read

I haven't done a The Broke & The Bookish Top Ten Tuesday in a while, so I thought it would be nice to get back into this week. We're discussing the top books we want to re-read. I do a lot of that already, so this wasn't too hard for me. What about you? Are you a re-reader? If not, what would be the exception? Tell me below!

1. Harry Potter. Always.

2. The Hunger Games series -I've only read them once, in 2010, when Mockingjay came out. I was a little iffy about the series at first and would love to see what I think now after all the hype. I've also only seen the first movie and really want to re-read them before I watch the second and third.

3. Eleanor & Park and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour -two of my favorite books by two of my favorite new authors! :)

4. Anne of Green Gables --I'm reading the 5th in the series right now and it is really making me want to go back to young Anne in the first book. When I first started this series, in 2012, I didn't realize that Anne would grow up as the series went on and I miss young Anne girl.

5. The Gone series --it'd be great to go back and read these from the beginning and catch all the clues and misdirections he gave throughout the story.

6. Pride & Prejudice --this was the first classic book I read for my blog, 2 years ago, and I'd really like to go back and revisit it. I think I will like it even more the 2nd time.

7. Echo --I zoomed thru this graphic novel series so quickly, I'm sure I missed some stuff. And I will always re-read Terry Moore.

8. Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday --I will probably re-read these next summer, because Steinbeck just means summer to me now. These were my absolute favorite books by him and I can't wait to go back to them!

9. The Night Circus --I would love to be able to go back to this magical world for the first time again! But a re-read will do.

10.The Lunar Chronicles series --I can't wait til the 4th book comes out next year, but I know I will want to re-read this whole series before it does.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Triple Review: "The List", "Through To You", & "Don't Even Think About It"

I'm so far behind on reviews it's not even funny. You've probably noticed that though, right? I've been in a serious blogging slump for months now and am slowly trying to dig my way out of it. I figured a good way to start is some mini reviews, especially since two of these books need to be returned to the library this week. Oops.

The List by Siobhan Vivian
3 out of 5 stars

I bought this book on a spontaneous trip to Target (those are always the most expensive) because I'd heard a lot about Vivian but never read any of her books. Overall, this is a decent read, maybe better suited for an actual young adult. I considered loaning it to my 14 year old sister but she has too many of my books still lol.

It's the week of homecoming and an anonymous list has just been posted all over the school. Eight girls' names are on it: the ugliest and prettiest girls in each class. These eight girls are instantly famous around school and have to deal with the aftermath. "The ones who aren't [on the list] will wonder what the experience, good or bad, might have been like. The eight girls who are won't have a choice."

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of the eight girls and as you can imagine, that is a little confusing at first. I was constantly flipping back to the main list of girls in the beginning of the book. Once I got into the story though, it wasn't too bad. The story is obviously centered on societal definitions of "ugly" and "pretty" but there was also a strong theme of "sisterhood" and "friendship". Two pairs of sisters have made the list (past & present), former best friends have to confront each other when one makes the list for the 4th year in a row. Throughout the story, we learn that outward appearances can be deceiving (one girl suffers from an eating disorder), and sometimes looks really don't matter.

*Slight spoilers*

My main issue with this book, and the reason it was marked down a star, was the ending felt way too rushed. I really wanted to know what happened to all the girls and you don't get that. I felt cheated almost.

Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt
2 out of 5 stars

I just realized that all 3 of these books are told in alternating viewpoints and are all centered around high school life, so I picked a good set to do mini reviews for! :)

Harper is an average girl, not super popular but not a loser either. Penn used to be the hot-shot baseball player before an injury killed his career. One day, Penn drops a note on Harper's desk, "I like your sparkle", and an odd relationship starts up between the two. The story had promise in the beginning...Harper is smart and sassy and doesn't care that Penn is one of the popular kids. Penn comes from a troubled family and is a typical bad boy. But that's about as far as the story gets.

The characters are very flat and I found it hard to get invested in their story. The secondary characters are pretty much nonexistent after the first two chapters. And the "romance" was seriously lacking. They date for maybe a week before they break up and then it kind of repeats through the rest of the book. There is no reason given why these two would like each other or what they can bring to the relationship. Penn refuses to open up to Harper about anything: his injury, his family, his former friendship with a fellow baseball player. Even in the end, he just barely brushes the surface of his troubles. And yet, Harper gives him another chance. And another and another.

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
3 out of 5 stars

I have the hardest time spelling this author's last name, she should change it lol. I've read one other book by her, Gimme a Call, and enjoyed it. I didn't realize it before, but she seems to like writing slightly sci-fi, magical realism stories. A homeroom class in a New York City school get flu shots with an odd side-effect...they develop the power to read minds. It seems to only have effected one class, roughly 20 kids, and the story is told by all of them. It's a little odd, as we don't know who specifically is talking, but it kind of works too.

The kids develop ESP over the next few days and of course, have major freak-outs. As they come to terms with having to hear what their parents are saying (or worse, doing), knowing what their best friend actually thinks about them, and finding out if their secret crush actually likes them back, the kids come together as a group. They learn how their ESP works and discuss what they should do. Keep it a secret or tell the authorities? What would you do? Secret, right? I knew it. ;)

After the kids have some time to acclimate, they begin using their powers for good. The good of them, that is. Pop quizzes are aced, new boyfriends are gotten, parents are handled with ease. But eventually, things start unraveling and secrets come out. This book is apparently going to have a sequel (or a series?), so unfortunately the ending is left pretty open. If I remember it, I'd like to read the next one, but not sure if I will.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" Classic a Month #10.2014

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
2 out of 5 stars

This was another disappointing read for my classic horror month. I think I am just too familiar with these stories (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein, Poe) from pop culture references. They don't surprise and shock me like they are supposed to. The biggest plus to this read was that it was a short story, only 92 pages on my Kindle. If you've never read it and don't know the story at all, then by all means, read it and you will probably enjoy it. Also, stop reading this review now, because there will be tons of spoilers. :)

The basic story, that man is not truly one, but truly two, is told thru different narratives and is more of a dry science report than a story of good and evil. Dr Jekyll is the "mad scientist" who tries to come up with a solution to his impatient gaiety of disposition. Basically, he wants to be able to do bad things and get away with it. He creates a formula that transforms himself into a hideous, pure evil creature, Mr Hyde. As Hyde, he goes and does as he pleases and as Jekyll, he is still the good, respectable doctor.

If each...could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.

Jekyll's friends, Utterson and Lanyon, have a few confrontations with the abominable Hyde and begin to question his relationship with Jekyll. They fear that their friend is being blackmailed for something, as Jekyll has made over his will to leave everything to Hyde. (In case he disappears.) Utterson, being Jekyll's lawyer, obviously seriously questions this but gets no answers from the doctor.

Time goes on and Hyde kills a man and goes into hiding. Jekyll strives to keep the evil under check and go about his normal life, but he soon begins to slip. "I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse." After Lanyon dies and leaves Utterson a strange account of his last visit with Jekyll and an even stranger account of meeting Hyde, Utterson determines to go to Jekyll's home and figure things out once and for all.

Utterson arrives at Jekyll's laboratory and only finds the twisted body of Mr Hyde and a thick letter addressed to him in Jekyll's handwriting. Jekyll gives the full account of all that has transpired and how he finally succumbed to Hyde. "My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring." Jekyll refuses to let Hyde carry on living though and kills himself/themselves. (Would that be a murder/suicide?)
(This is the best thing ever and 
you will have it in your head for days!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: "Bury Me Deep"

Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike
2.5 out of 5 stars

It's that time of year when all I want to read is spooky books that give me the shivers, so who better than the master of teen murder himself, Christopher Pike?? Bury Me Deep was the first book I picked up from my stack and it was just kind of an okay read. Not as great as Master of Murder (but what is?) or Die Softly (which I realized I haven't reread yet!), but not as horrible as Monster. It pains me to write this, mostly because I skinned my elbow and can't lean on the desk, but main character Jean is boring and should have died. Spoiler: she doesn't lol.

Jean is a healthy, all-American, 18 year old girl on her way to Hawaii for spring break. Her 2 BFF's, Mandy and Michele (called Jill on the back cover, oops typo!), arrived 2 days before her due to a snafu with her evil science teacher and so she is flying out by herself. She's super excited to go and maybe lose her pesky virginity to a hot young surfer. On the plane, she meets a young hillbilly named Mike who won a trip to Hawaii and is oddly melancholy about it. They have a brief conversation about the trip and some dark cave that Mike has heard about and then he tells Jean "You're sitting in my seat". Then all of a sudden he has a seizure or something and he dies, right there on the plane. Yeah. Creepy side note: Pike dedicated this book to his nephew...Mike. Gee, thanks Uncle Chris lol.

Jean is obviously freaked out about it all but tries to put it out of her mind as she arrives in Hawaii. Her friend, Mandy, meets her at the airport with a lei and an "Aloha". "What does Aloha mean, anyway?" "Hello, goodbye, let's have sex." Mandy is a ditzy, fluffy girl (135 lbs is "fluffy" in Pike-verse) with a heart of gold who also wants to get laid. Specifically with the scuba instructor she met the day before, Johnny. And she doesn't want Jean interfering or taking Johnny for herself. Not that Jean would ever do that. Except of course, that's exactly what she does, unintentionally, as soon as she meets Johnny. Mandy kind of goes into the background after that, being the rejected fluffy girl. And don't worry about Michele, she's too busy actually doing what the other girls just wanted to do...

So the majority of this book is about scuba diving and honestly, it's boring and too much info. There's a whole chapter about the girls learning to dive in the hotel swimming pool. I could probably go dive right now with just this book as my learner's manual. Hot Johnny and Michele's guy Dave take them all out and despite her initial reservations, Jean thinks diving is totally rad after they finally get in the ocean and wants to do it every day. Dave and Johnny used to have a 3rd partner, Ringo, who I'm sure would have gone for Mandy but he like died mysteriously or something. Nothing to worry about though, I'm sure.

After the dive, Jean goes back to the hotel to rest and suddenly starts having weird prophetic dreams. She dreams of a bathtub full of blood and this is truly nasty: She wanted to turn the water off. Jean reached out for the faucet and turned it. But suddenly a gust of red steam rose up from the bloody tub. It hit her in the face. It smelled of death, of morbid decay, and it made her feel faint. Gross. When she wakes up, the tub is full of...ketchup. Okay, her dreams aren't totally spot on yet. Later, Jean goes out with Johnny and he tells her about Ringo, who died diving for sunken treasure, and then they almost have a make-out sesh on the beach but get interrupted by Johnny's beeper. I almost got in trouble in senior year English because my mom kept paging me once. My classmate covered for me by coughing a lot til I could get it turned off. I think I still have the beeper somewhere too. It's like a relic in a museum now lol.

Johnny's mom is a drunk and a total buzzkill for their date, so they decide to meet up again the next day on Johnny & Dave's work boat. Before that though, she has another dream, about a dark, underwater cave. She runs into Dead Mike and he shows her a skull buried deep in the cave, that has a suspicious hole in it. Then he does this neat trick with a white, heart-shaped balloon that explodes in her face and wakes her up, where she's hanging over the balcony about to die. Dave saves her and thinks she's some crazy chick with a death wish. Which she kind of is.

When they go out on the boat the next day, Jean talks Johnny into taking her to this island that she just HAS TO GO TO, because of her dream. Mandy tags along and after about 5 minutes of diving, freaks out and Johnny has to take her back up to the surface. Jean is supposed to follow but instead goes even deeper and OMG finds a cave just like in her dream. And shocker, there's a skull there. No one believes her of course, so she starts researching. That's what I would do on my fabulous vacation in Hawaii. She finds out a bunch of crap, like that Mike actually died scuba diving and not on the plane like she thought. Turns out she's been having these dreams for a while now and never knew. She decides to go visit Mike's grave on the island (what??!) and a tree branch falls and knocks her on the head and she sees what really happened to Mike. He was diving and found the skull and "someone" (ie: either Dave or Johnny) decided to kill him to keep him quiet. They inflated his bouyancy thingy and he rocketed to the surface, his heart exploding on the way. Yick.

Jean wakes up and just knows it's Dave, so she rushes off to the hotel, but finds that something else has happened...Mandy is dead. She was either pushed or jumped off the balcony and went splat on the cement below. Mandy must have landed on top of her head. The crown of her skull was crushed flat. The delicate bones that made up her pleasant expression were shattered. There was blood everywhere. But it was still good old Mandy. Now Jean is convinced that Dave killed her friend too and tells Johnny the whole story, but he thinks she's crazy. She goes off on her own to try to get the skull out of the cave, to prove it to everyone.

While down there, Dave ("someone") attacks her, and tries to kill her the same way as good old Mike. Luckily, she keeps her cool and manages to get back to the surface safely. Once there, she just happens to run into Johnny, who went after her. He helps her back onto the boat, where Dave and Michele are conveniently knocked out, and Jean starts piecing a few things together that didn't make sense before. OMG it's Johnny!! Duh. Suddenly, Johnny is a homocidal maniac, killing Ringo over buried treasure and then Mike and finally Mandy. Jean jumps overboard and tries to swim away but Johnny comes after on a wave runner (jet ski) and tries to run her down. She does some fancy manuevering and eventually, he runs into a bank of coral and goes flying off the bike, breaking his neck. Bye, Johnny. Jean has one last dream about Mike, who is totally at peace now that his death has been figured out, and she heads home, still a virgin.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: "Northanger Abbey" Classic a Month #9.2014

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
3 out of 5 stars

I hate to say it, but this book was boring for me. I actually started it once and had to put it down for a week or two. I know this is a lot of people's favorite Austen book but it just wasn't for me. It's a very quiet story and despite the promising Goodreads summary, not a lot happens.

"Jane Austen's "Gothic parody". Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers..."

So that makes you expect an almost scary story with maybe some murder thrown in, right? Nope, sorry. You get a few misdirections and spine-shivering moments, but that's it. Catherine Morland is the "heroine" of this story, really just in her own mind though. She is a plain, average girl from a plain, average family, who of course wants her grand romantic gesture, just like any girl. At the age of seventeen, Catherine is lucky enough to have kind and thoughtful neighbors who invite her to the city of Bath for the summer. There, she is sure to meet her dashing hero and have her happily ever after.

The first half of the book centers on her stay in Bath and her first time in "society". She immediately befriends a young woman named Isabella who is exactly the type of girl that Catherine thinks she wants to be. Beautiful, popular, and a horrendous flirt. Isabella takes a liking to Catherine's brother, especially when she thinks he comes from money. She uses her feminine wiles to ensnare him along with his sister. Catherine, being a naive country girl, does not realize she is being used and spends most of the story defending her bosom friend. Until Isabella dumps Catherine's brother for someone better and richer. Cow. Add that to the fact that Isabella's brother likes Catherine and is horribly dull, and that whole family can just go away now please.

Catherine also meets a young man named Henry Tilney, who has the potential to be her dashing hero. He was one of the best parts of the story. His dry wit and quiet sarcasm were quite refreshing. Yes, quite. Mr Tilney also has a sister, Eleanor, who is very nice and quiet, the opposite of Isabella. This book could almost be a story of sibling relationships. It might have been more interesting.

The second half of the book takes Catherine to the Tilney's abbey home, where her imagination runs rampant, due to all the gothic romances she reads. Reading will always get you in trouble, am I right? ;) There is a strong prejudice against "fluffy" novels throughout the book: "real men" do not read such nonsense, women must be ashamed of it, etc... Henry adds another notch to his eligibility belt with this little passage with Catherine:

C: "But you never read novels, I dare say?"
H: "Why not?"
C: "Because they are not clever enough for you-gentlemen read better books."
H: "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

Henry encourages Catherine's imaginings by telling her a mysterious story on the way to the abbey and of course she jumps to all kinds of conclusions, especially concerning his dead mother. Henry's dad is not the most pleasant person and Catherine just assumes he had a hand in his wife's untimely death. She is wrong of course and Henry corrects her very harshly. All is forgiven eventually and the two young people grow fond of each other and things look promising.

Then Henry's dad gets some mis-information from Isabella's spurned brother and basically kicks Catherine out of his home. She goes back home broken-hearted and unable to even speak to Henry before she leaves. Luckily, he finds out what happened and rushes off to see her and make things right. And Catherine gets her dashing hero and happily ever after. The End.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: "Power Play: Sweet Valley High #4"

Power Play: Sweet Valley High #4 by Francine Pascal
4 out of 5 stars

Before Reading: Oooh...it's face-off time with the twins! I always think of them having long, straight hair but it's always kind of short and wavy on the covers. Weird. This is the uber fat-shaming one. I'm sure I'll have a LOT to say about this one!

The Main Plot in 50 Words or Less: Robin is infatuated with Jessica and the Pi Beta Alpha sisters. Jessica is disgusted with her fat rolls and does everything she can to keep her out of the sorority. Elizabeth helps Robin, but does more damage in the end.

The Second Plot in 20 Words or Less: Lila becomes the typical "rich girl wanting daddy's attention shoplifter". Elizabeth helps her out, too.

Opening Lines: Elizabeth Wakefield didn't know how messy things would get with Robin Wilson and the sorority pledging, until she was in too deep to back out.

Closing Lines: Jessica in love with an experienced college man meant storm clouds would be gathering soon. And all Elizabeth could do was hope that the inevitable winds would not shipwreck those close to her sister-including herself. (I don't even know what this means. Too much metaphoring.)

Best WTF Lines: Too many to type, so I made a handy graphic below. Enjoy. (I even color-coded it for you, see if you can figure out who said what!)

(Click to make bigger, sorry I had to split it up!)

Happenings in SV: Robin Wilson thinks Jessica is her best friend, but Jess is just using her to run her errands and stuff. Robin wants to join the Pi Beta Alpha sorority at SVH (why does a high school have a sorority, anyway??), Jessica is the president and "promised" Robin she would nominate her. Of course, she never does and Elizabeth ends up doing it instead. Jess is pissed and decides to haze Robin, making her run the track every day, wear a bikini to the beach, and ask Bruce Patman to the Discomarathon (dance of the week/book).

Elizabeth bribes Bruce into saying yes to Robin by giving him a glowing article in the "Eyes & Ears" column of the school paper. He agrees, but then totally humiliates Robin at the dance by dumping her at the dance floor in front of everyone. Robin is devastated and runs off, but ends up coming back with some geek called Allen Walters (never heard of him). Then Robin gets blackballed from the sorority (thanks to Jess) and she is heart-broken.

After the vote, she cuts everyone out of her life and stays home for a while, then starts working out and eating better. The book kind of makes it seem like it's been a few weeks, but I don't know about that. Robin starts to lose a lot of weight and even becomes pretty. Liz stops her one day and mentions it. Robin fixed her penetrating eyes on Elizabeth, "Liz, I may have been stupid about almost everything-the Pi Betas, Jessica, and maybe even you. But if you're asking me if I'm starving myself to death, I wouldn't give any of the PBAs the satisfaction." Yeah, right.

Robin eventually gets thin and pretty and tries out for the cheerleading squad and makes co-captain, with the furious Jessica. She also wins Miss Sweet Valley High, which is some kind of football queen (I don't even know) and snubs Bruce Patman for Allen.

Lila starts giving Jessica tons of expensive gifts and Liz finds it a little suspicious. When Liz is at the mall one day, she talks to a shop keeper who tells her that they've had some theft lately and Liz thinks it might be Jess. Later, she sees Lila at a shop, stealing a bracelet. Liz almost gets pinpointed for the theft, but runs off. (That's not suspicious at all.) Then, Lila calls Elizabeth up, panicking, because Jessica gets arrested for shoplifting! Lila finally fesses up and her daddy is called in and fixes everything. For some reason, Lila asks Liz for all this help and begs her not to tell Jessica anything about it.

Fashion Icons: You can see all the Robin tents up in the WTF-graphic, so I'll skip those.

Jessica was wearing leotards and exercising with Jane Fonda via video cassette.

Jessica was bouncing down the steps in an ice-blue string bikini, heading for the backyard pool. With her slim body, she'd never suffer the miseries poor Robin had gone through that day at the beach.

An oddly dressed young woman [Lila] was standing in Lisette's studying the counters. She was wearing a pair of bright green, skin-tight pants and a loose striped blouse that looked as though it could accommodate two people.

On Monday Robin showed up in designer jeans, a rainbow top, and a new hairstyle. Lip gloss and perfect eye makeup created an effect that almost caused Bruce Patman to walk into the gym door.

Comfortable overalls disappeared. Sneakers went into the closet. With carefully dressed hopefuls lounging around on the school lawn, leaning against the white oak trees, Sweet Valley High looked like a spread from a fashion magazine. [Doesn't it always, with its "no fatty" policy??]

Jordache jeans were challenged by Calvin Kleins. Miniskirts were seen next to tapered slacks. Makeup and new hairstyles turned the young women into Glamour models.

Twin Hijinks: Elizabeth is at home & answers the door to Robin, who knows she's not Jessica. Elizabeth asks her how she knows and Robin says, "I don't mean to offend you, Liz, really I don't, but I'm pretty sure Jessica's never dressed like that in her life." (Old jeans and a flannel shirt)

The salesclerk at Lizette's grabs Jess for shoplifting, thinking it's Liz. When they're together, the clerk thinks it's a gang lol.

Other Thoughts: This book was so amazingly horrendous, I just had to give it 4 stars. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me feel so awful about being a chubby bunny. :p I'm not sure what exactly the authors/ghost writers/editors/publishers were thinking with this one, but they missed the mark, big time. Not only does Robin get tortured nonstop for being a fatty, but when she finally does lose weight (very quickly and unhealthily), she immediately becomes Miss Popular.

Elizabeth calls Jessica "Jessie" throughout the book, which kept throwing me off. I don't think she does that in any other books. This book also had about 637 examples of Jess saying "thirty-seven" in it. (See what I did there?) Why was that number so important?

The Next Book*: Jessica with a college guy? Elizabeth fears her twin has gotten in over her head this time. Is she right? Find out in Sweet Valley High #5, ALL NIGHT LONG.

*(not necessarily what I'll be reading)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: "Pippi Longstocking" Classic a Month #8.2014

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
3 out of 5 stars

Pippi is one of those books/characters that is probably better off left behind in your childhood memories. Reading her as an adult was excruciating and a little bit sad. As a child, you hear about this amazing girl who lives on her own with her horse and monkey and gets to do whatever she wants, with no adults to ever tell her no. She has fantastical adventures, can go to bed whenever she wants, doesn't have to go to school, nothing bad ever happens to her, and everything is always wonderful in Pippi's world. (Even with her father, the infamous cannibal king, missing at sea.) Who wouldn't love this book, as a child? Who of us never dreamed of being Tommy and Annika, with Pippi as a neighbor? Getting to go on picnics and running into an angry bull, discovering secret clubhouses in hollowed out trees, playing "don't touch the floor" in the kitchen (okay, my sister and I actually did that one in the living room lol), watching Pippi fly thru the air at the circus and beat the strongest man ever. Overall, this is the perfect adventure book for children and it's evident why it's a classic.

However, reading it as an adult brings on a completely different tone. You begin to feel sorry for Pippi, being alone all the time. Many of the chapters are tinged with sadness, such as when she makes the burglars stay and play with her til 3 in the morning and then gives them a little gold for their trouble. Or when Pippi goes to Tommy & Annika's for a coffee party and their mother scolds her for not behaving.

Pippi looked at her in astonishment and her eyes slowly filled with tears. "That's just what I was afraid of," she said. "That I couldn't behave properly. It's no use to try; I'll never learn. I should have stayed on the ocean."

The child just wants to be loved. And honestly, she needs a little discipline. You know you're getting older when you want to just spank the child for behaving like that lol.

And then there was the question of her amazing strength and ability to wriggle out of any sticky situation. Why is she so strong? Genetics? Did Mr Nilsson bite her in a rabies-induced rage? Children don't question those kinds of things, but it just seems odd to an adult. I feel like if Pippi had either not had her super-human strength or got into a little more trouble occasionally, the story would have been more believable. She is never held accountable for her actions, she always manages to get out of a bad situation. That makes the story a little boring at times, honestly. And then there's the lying. Oh, the lying is awful. What parent would want to read this book to their child?? Luckily, children aren't quite so closed minded as adults and just see the story for what it is...a fantastical story about a fantastical little girl with red braids and a monkey on her shoulder.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Favorite Children's Book #4: Madeline's Rescue

What was your favorite picture book as a child? What book did you return to, over and over again, until your parents were completely sick of it? Was it Madeline? Max & the Wild Things? Paddington? This feature shows off some of my favorite children's books, in no particular order, and I also want to hear what you think! So comment below. :)

Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

I asked my sister, A, what children's book I should do this week and she said Madeline, because "she has red hair like me". And then my mom mentioned a Madeline doll she wanted and it seemed like that was the book to do. Turns out I don't actually have the first Madeline book though! I really thought I did too, weird. This is the second book in the series, published in 1953 and a Caldecott winner in 1954. I always loved finding books with the Caldecott or Newbery seal on them as a kid, it made them seem so special. (Which I suppose they were or they wouldn't have won.)

I'm sure you know the original story of Madeline: "twelve little girls in two straight lines. The smallest one was Madeline." Madeline's Rescue can be taken two ways: the first in that she is rescued from the Seine river by a stray dog and the second in that Madeline herself rescues the dog from living on the streets. This book is super morbid for a children's book.

Poor Madeline would now be dead
But for a dog
that kept its head,
And dragged her safe from a watery grave.

Of course she is safe though and they take the dog home with them and name her Genevieve. All is well until the evil board of trustees arrive for their annual inspection and Lord Cucuface (really, that's his name) makes the dog leave. The girls scour the city, looking for her but she is gone. That evening, Genevieve shows back up at the home and the girls are ecstatic to see her. Even more so when she has puppies. (How and when did she have time for that?!) In the end, each of the twelve girls has her own puppy to walk in two straight lines and Genevieve has Madeline.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: "Jane Eyre" Classic a Month #7.2014

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2.5 out of 5 stars

I've decided that I am not a fan of the Bronte sisters and am definitely more of an Austenite. After the fiasco of Wuthering Heights, I should have known better, but I'd heard so many good things about Jane Eyre, that I decided to give it a shot. Looking back at WH now though, I'd be more likely to give it 1.5 stars. :/ I finished this last week and last weekend, I was super bored so I decided to give the Jane Eyre movie on Netflix a shot. It seems like they added a ton of classic movies/series on there recently. (Maybe because I've been searching for them lol.) I got about halfway thru the movie and will probably finish it this weekend, so I'll try to do a Book vs Movie next week for it.

So, Jane Eyre had some interesting parts in the beginning of the story and then around the middle and towards the ending, but everything else was booooring. They could have taken out 100 pages in between each interesting section and made the book half as long. Part of the problem was that there was a good amount of conversation taking place in French, with no translation. "To speak truth, sir, I don't understand you at all; I cannot keep up the conversation, because it has got out of my depth." Also, there was a strong religious theme, which is fine for some people, I just don't enjoy reading about it too much.

The first part of the book deals with young Jane Eyre, who is an orphan and living with her uncle's widow and her incorrigible children. She has a rough time, barely better than a servant, getting attacked by the eldest boy, completely misunderstand by her guardian. Finally, Mrs Reed has enough and sends Jane to a boarding school and away from the family forever. Jane is elated to be away from them, but unfortunately, the school is not much better. Worse, probably. Run by a religious tyrant, she barely gets fed, lives in near squalor but forced to maintain their high education standards, and has to watch her best friend die. (So sad) But Jane perseveres and eventually the school gets better and she becomes a teacher there. (Remember, back then, girls became teachers as young as 16 or 17.)

After a while and too many pages of introspection, Jane decides to leave the school and magically finds the perfect job in the paper. She travels to a far away place to become a governess for the Rochester household. When she gets there, she is welcomed heartily by Mrs Fairfax, the housekeeper (whom she confuses for the lady of the house) and her charge, the young French child, Adele. Jane begins a somewhat comfortable life there but is still a kind of restlessness. One day, she is taking some letters to town when she runs into a frightful man and his horse and giant dog. Literally. She frightens the horse and the man falls and sprains his ankle. Any guesses who that man is?

Yep, the not-so-dashing Mr Rochester. They make a great point throughout the book of how unattractive both Jane and Mr Rochester are. Which I suppose is rather refreshing to not have practically perfect people, but comes across as overly insistent. "No, no. I am quite ugly. Well, I am quite ugly too!" Psshh... Mr Rochester is an unfriendly, gruff man and of course, Jane falls for him immediately.

Jane to herself: He is not of your order: keep to your caste, and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised.

And then there is a very large amount of pages of them having witty banter, one-sided conversations of Mr Rochester saying lots of stuff, and how Jane feels about it all. I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me. Mr Rochester throws Jane off for a while by showing an intense interest in a young woman named Blanche, who is one of the "pretty people".  But it's all a (stupid) ruse because Rochester has fallen for Jane as well.

Rochester to Jane: "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you-especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame."

This review is so long already, y'all, and I haven't even gotten to the weird parts yet! Let's speed it up, okay? Rochester loves Jane, Jane loves Rochester, he asks her to marry him, she refuses because she's a lowly servant, he doesn't care, convinces her, Mrs Fairfax disapproves, there's a fire in Rochester's bedroom, someone is messing with Jane, Rochester tells her it's all cool, the wedding day comes, and welcome to Crazy Town, population 2: Mr Rochester and his FIRST WIFE THAT HE KEEPS LOCKED UP IN THE ATTIC. Yes, I had to do all CAPS on that, I'm sorry. This is so weird, it doesn't even feel like the same story. Rochester claims it's all perfectly innocent and acceptable, because the first wife is unhinged and mentally ill. And he still wants Jane to stay and be his mistress. Of course, Jane freaks and runs off.

Jane to Rochester: "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?-a machine without feelings? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!-I have as much soul as you-and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you."

She travels across the countryside for days and nights and ends up on the doorstep, starving and sick, of the Rivers siblings. Spoiler alert: she's related to them. She convalesces there for a month or so and thanks to St John, the eldest sibling, gets a job in the local town as a schoolteacher. And then there's more weird when he asks her to go on a missionary trip with him to the Middle East...as his wife. She's come to think of him as a brother (she doesn't know she's related yet) and still loves Rochester, so she's like "uh, no. But I'll go as your sister." He refuses and says it's her duty and her mission, etc...She still refuses and around that time, gets a letter forwarded from the Rochester house about a distant uncle who died and left her a ton of money. Then it all comes out that she and the Rivers' are cousins, Jane is ecstatic to finally have family, and she splits the money with them.

Finally, Jane gets happy with her money, decides she is worthy of Rochester and still loves him and needs to see him again, so she takes the trip back to him. There, she finds the house burned to the ground and no one around. She learns from the locals that Rochester was badly injured trying to save his crazy wife but she died and now he is blind and missing a hand and living in the woods somewhere. She runs to him and vows never to leave him again and all that mushy stuff. He can't believe his ears at first, thinking her a spirit that he called to him, but he comes around and asks her to marry him again. She says yes, of course, and then spends the last chapter of the book talking about St John. More weird, right?  And that's it, thank you very much. Why do I always spend the most amount of time on the books I don't like that much? Strange.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TILT: Reading is Awesome!

What do all the cool kids do these days? They read! Why else would all these teen book movies be so popular these days?! (My sister is getting really sick of all the "dying kid" movies lately lol.) So this week's Things I Love Thursday is dedicated to the cool kids. :)

(If you do not want your product mentioned, please contact me!)

Read TShirt by ShopGibberish --this is the kids version, but they do have adult sized also.

Hot Girls Read Printable by MaidservantOf --yeah, we do! ;) (This shop is on vacation right now, but check back in September!)

Smart Boys Poster by MeganLee --I'm in total agreement!

Reading is for Awesome People Print by IkeStudio --love the colors in this one.

Bonus: This cute little print by Wayah is only $4.00!! Seriously adorable...think how great it would be hanging above a shelf full of Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, etc...!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line: Veronica Mars #1"

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line: Veronica Mars #1 by Rob Thomas
3.5 out of 5 stars

Are you a marshmallow? If you said yes, this is the book for you. If you have no idea what I'm talking about and are just craving smores now, stop reading here and go get Veronica Mars season 1 now! Alright, now back to you marshmallows...I figured this would be a good review, since the news about the web series just came out (although I still don't really understand the premise). This book picks up right after the movie, so there may be spoilers for that here. (OMG, the movie was soooo gooood!! *flailing* still 5 months later lol) The first book in the VMars series (yes, it's going to be a series!!) shows Veronica back in Neptune and back in the spy biz, against her dad's wishes.

The best thing about this book is that it is an all new case, it's not a remake of the show or the movie. You get brand new VMars stories. I had a bit of a hard time at first getting into the story and "hearing" Veronica's voice. I've read several reviews that the audiobook (read by Kristen Bell) is very good, so that's what I would suggest to you. Then you can literally hear Veronica's voice! Once I got into it though, it was really good. Most of the favorites are there: Keith, Mac, Wallace. Unfortunately, we don't get much of Logan, as he is off on military duty. Boo. Need more Logan. Shirtless, preferably. Also, more Weevil. He is one of my favorite VMars characters and his story in the movie was just heartbreaking.
(thanks to maneater for the pic!)

The case itself is interesting...it's spring break in Neptune, which is apparently a hot party spot, and girls are going missing. Veronica is approached to help find the girls, since Sheriff New Lamb is just as incompetent as his little brother. Did anyone else find it odd that they made Dan Don's older brother? Veronica takes on the case, because money, and ends up running into someone from her past that she'd never thought she'd see again. Not spoiling it of course, because it could be any of dozens of people, but it was pretty shocking.

Veronica has her smarty-pants on for this case and with Mac and Wallace's help, blows things up for the sheriff and various bad guys. She gets into plenty of trouble along the way, of course. Pretending to be a college girl only interested in how she looks in her bikini, throwing herself at Dick Casablancas (love him, but still want to see him grow up a little), sneaking around and getting caught, a trip to the hospital, tazers, guns, knives, drugs...all a typical day in Neptune.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

TILT: Book Furniture

I am obsessed lately with getting more book space and have started branching out from just plain old bookcases, so I thought this would be a fun Things I Love Thursday. I am especially intrigued by the bookshelves built in and around the bed. I would love that. How about you? Do you have books stacked up into a bedside table? Turned into a chair? Throw a blanket on a stack and sleep on them? ;)

Side Table
Behind the Bed (check out the calligraphy comforter too!)
Bed Cocoon 

Around the Bed
Side Table 2

I did manage to turn a few of these colorful Readers' Digest books that my mom found for me into little shelves. Eventually I want to hang them all and spread my Wild Things out on them. :)